Queens Hotel receives Portsmouth freedom of the city for giving meals to vulnerable people and housing NHS frontline staff during Covid-19 pandemic
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The Queens Hotel has been presented with the accolade for providing up to 600 meals a week to the most vulnerable during the first Covid lockdown.
A Freedom of the City certificate was given by the Lord Mayor, Frank Jonas, and the Lord Mayoress, Joy Maddox.
NHS frontline staff were also given free rooms.
Thousands of pounds were donated to ensure the meals could be created for those most in need.
Farid Yeganeh, managing director at the Queens Hotel, said: ‘None of us could just sit back and wait, we wanted to help in a practical way and we are really enjoying cooking for our community.’
The director joined forces with the head chef at Gunwharf Quays Brasserie Blanc, Anghel Niko Nedelcu, to create hundreds of meals weekly.
General manager of the Royal Beach Hotel, Chris Gilmore, and head chef, Paul Playford, also supported the project.
PMC Construction, and Southsea butchers, Buckwells, also donated to the cause.
Clare Martin, director of community projects at Portsmouth Football Club, also helped co-ordinate her team of HIVE Portsmouth volunteers to deliver meals and food parcels.
She said: ‘The meals prepared at the Queens Hotel were really special and receiving one was such a treat.
‘One person burst into tears when our volunteer arrived with food for them, they were so delighted.’
Commenting on the honour, Mr Yeganeh said: ‘We are delighted to be recognised in this way for the work we did.
‘We see ourselves as the hotel at the heart of Southsea and this has underlined that position.’
Head Chef Nedelcu said he wanted to give something back to the NHS.
He said: ‘I owe the NHS everything. When my son Sheylan was born he spent a year in hospital.
‘He has Down’s syndrome and his heart needed reconstruction surgery.
‘If he was born anywhere else I don’t think he would have survived and we still have a lot of support from the medical team.
‘We have made donations and supported charity events since my son’s birth, but I saw the opportunity to cook for vulnerable people including nurses, as a great way to give something back.’